While 2013 was a pretty great year overall, the year was not without loss. From Emmy winners to big screen heroes and more, we’re looking back at just a few of the stars we lost before heading into the New Year.
Roger Ebert: Though he wasn’t himself an actor, Roger Ebert and movies are inextricably linked. After a long battle with cancer, the iconic movie critic passed away in April at age 70, but the legacy he left in the film industry is indelible. After 46 years, Ebert stepped down from his post at the “Chicago Sun-Times.” Shortly before he died, he made the announcement that he was taking a “leave of presence,” but that presence continues to be felt even after he has gone.
Annette Funicello: In April, singer-actress Annette Funicello died due to complications from multiple sclerosis. Funicello got her start as a child star as one of the original Mouseketeers before becoming a successful actress in the ‘60s. She starred opposite Frankie Avalon in a slew of “Beach Party” movies, one of the most successful being 1965’s “Beach Blanket Bingo.” After going public with her illness in the early 1990s, Funicello received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 20 years ago.
Jean Stapleton: In May, it felt like the world lost a mother when Edith Bunker herself – Jean Stapleton – died at 90 years of age. For nearly a decade, she played the legendary role as Archie Bunker’s daffy-but-sweet wife, playing mom to young Sally Struthers and her hippie hubby, Rob Reiner. Though the character was killed off during the first season of a spinoff, “Archie Bunker’s Place,” Edith (and Stapelton) left her mark in both TV history and our hearts.
Cory Monteith: Cory Monteith’s death shocked the world this July, when the fresh-from-rehab star lost his life after a drug relapse. The “Glee” actor was memorialized in a moving tribute on the FOX series, including a haunting performance by his co-star and real-life girlfriend, Lea Michele. In recent months, creator Ryan Murphy released the details of his original plans for the final scene of “Glee,” which featured a happy ending for Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry, adding that his new plans for the series finale will still honor his dear friend, whom he considered a son.
James Gandolfini: Despite his intimidating role as Tony Soprano on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” James Gandolfini still had a reputation for being a real-life teddy bear. Gandolfini passed away of a heart attack at the age of 51, just as he was showing the world a new side of his acting skills in the critically acclaimed romantic comedy, “Enough Said,” with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Like Monteith, he was memorialized at the 2013 Emmy Awards, with his close friend and former co-star remembering him as being “kind and uniquely generous.”
Lisa Robin Kelly: Lisa Robin Kelly is best remembered as Topher Grace’s sarcastic on-screen sister, Laurie Forman, in the first few seasons of FOX’s hit “That ‘70s Show.” Yet after leaving the show in the middle of its run, Kelly mostly left show business behind before popping up in the news for a number of run-ins with the law. In August, the 43-year-old star reportedly died in her sleep at a rehab center in California.
Lee Thompson Young: After starring in Disney’s “The Famous Jett Jackson,” Lee Thompson Young successfully transitioned from child star to more mature roles in projects like 2004’s “Friday Night Lights” and later “Akeelah and the Bee.” Since 2010, Young had also been co-starring as the squeamish Detective Barry Frost in TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles.” At the age of 29, he took his own life after struggling with bipolar disorder and depression.
Larry Hagman: Rarely has an actor been able to display such a range of talent throughout such an illustrious career. Following five seasons as the “dreamy” Major Nelson on “I Dream of Jeannie,” it seemed hard to believe that Larry Hagman could shed his nice-guy image. But yet he did, and he did it so well, less than a decade later when he took on the role as the deliciously evil J.R. Ewing on “Dallas.” The series originally ran for 14 seasons and featured one of the all-time greatest TV cliffhangers: Who shot J.R.? Hagman returned for the TNT reboot but sadly passed away of cancer in November at age 81.
Paul Walker: In late November, “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker was killed in a tragic car crash that also took the life of the driver, Roger Rodas. Walker was on a short break from filming the franchise’s seventh film at the time of his passing, and the project will move forward with his already-filmed scenes. Hundreds of fans poured out to the crash site in an informal memorial to the star, who also had memorable turns in “Pleasantville,” “Varsity Blues” and “She’s All That” throughout his more than 25 years of acting.
Peter O’Toole: O’Toole, best known for his title role in 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia,” died at the age of 81 Saturday in a hospital in London. He had reportedly been ill for some time and had retired from acting shortly before his 80th birthday in 2012. O’Toole is the most-nominated actor to never win an Oscar with eight Academy Award nominations, including his work in “Becket,” “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” and “My Favorite Year.” In 2003, Meryl Streep presented him with an honorary Oscar.
Joan Fontaine: The world sadly lost two silver screen legends in one week this month, as Joan Fontaine passed on just one day after Peter O’Toole. The iconic actress scored an Academy Award nomination for her turn as the star of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca,” going on to win an Oscar for her part in “Suspicion.” Fontaine is survived by her older sister, fellow Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland, with whom she had a famous feud.